Thursday, September 20, 2012

Magnificent Fireflies in Puerto Princesa

Fireflies light up trees like it's Christmas.
(Photo from
Trees lit up as if it was Christmas. 

This is what seeing thousands of fireflies seemed like in the mangrove forests of Puerto Princesa. 

I’ve seen fireflies growing up but I’ve never seen so many until that night.

Even if I was slightly disappointed because I thought the entire stretch of mangrove would light up, I was still amazed that the selected trees that had them were really bright.

Fireflies are beautiful creatures, especially at night. Imagine tiny light balls zapping its way through the air. Very Tinkerbell, if you ask me.

(Photo from

Interesting facts about fireflies (from tour guide):
  • Males shine brighter than the females. 
  • Red light is seen as a threat, which causes them to glow brighter. 
  • They lay eggs under the soil to protect them from predators.
  • Light is produced through an enzyme called luciferase.
  • An adult's life span after mating is 2 weeks. Sad! 

The Tour 
This firefly tour in Puerto Princesa started less than a year ago. 

The service van brings travelers to the Baywalk by around 6pm. This is where the bangka will be waiting. The tour starts when the sun sets, which is around 6:45pm.

Baywalk: the start-off point of the tour.
(Photo from Ada de Pedro)

Friends patiently waiting for the tour to start.
(Photo from Ada de Pedro)
Our bangka.
Later on, we needed to transfer to the smaller boat (beside it) to be able to go through the shallow river.

You’ll notice that the water is extra calm. Practically no waves! This is because of the mangrove forests and mountains around that control the water. This is why Palawan isn’t affected by tsunamis.

The boat stops once you've arrived at the "entrance" of the river leading up to the fireflies. Travelers have the option to eat first on the boat while another group proceeds with the tour, or vice versa. It may be better to eat first for a more climactic experience.

Food served on the boat. Winner! 

After the semi-rushed dinner, we transferred to a small motorized boat that fit around 10 people. It was small because we would be passing through shallow waters. 

The view from the extra small bangka. The second group started their dinner.

It was extra dark going through the mangrove forests.
No flash photography allowed. 

There were around eight to 10 trees throughout the tour that had fireflies!
This was one of them. Photography fail.
This is the closest thing to what we saw!
Imagine the lights moving around!
(Photo from

The tour ends at 9pm. Travelers can opt to rent a bike, walk around Baywalk, or go back to the hotel.

Bikes are for rent at Php 25 per hour. 

Baywalk at night. 

Tour Cost
If travelers want to avail of this tour as a standalone, it would cost Php 1,000 per person. Quite pricey!

Fortunately, the hotel gave us a great deal for accommodations and tours. For our group of seven, the total cost was Php 35,000 or Php 5,000 per person. It included:
  • 2 rooms for 7 people for 3 nights
  • Breakfast for 3 mornings
  • Airport transfers and tour transpo
  • Underground River tour w/ lunch
  • Honda Bay tour w/ lunch
  • Firefly Watching tour w/ dinner

Do you think it's worth it?


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  6. Can you share which hotel you got the great tour package from? Please! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi DreamWeaver!
      We got in touch with Duchess Pension Inn.

      Our package included:
      -2 rooms for 7 people for 3 nights
      -Breakfast for 3 mornings
      -Airport transfers and tour transpo
      -Underground River tour w/ lunch
      -Honda Bay tour w/ lunch
      -Firefly Watching tour w/ dinner

      For our group of seven, the total cost was Php 35,000 or Php 5,000 per person.

      Hope this helps.



  7. wow you reply fast! i really think that was a great deal :D

    your site has been very helpful, thank you very much!

    1. Glad to be of help :)
      Enjoy your trip!


  8. This should be interesting! Going there this weekend! Thanks for the info!

    1. Hey Tim!
      Enjoy your trip! Hope the weather will be in your favor.